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California Condors in Memoriam
Sex: Male Hatch Location & Date: San Diego Zoo, 6/9/2003 Release Date: 9/25/2004 Parents:  #44 & #32 Local Biological Siblings: None Breeding Status: DECEASED 11/30/12 LEAD POISONING Offspring: Foster father of #550 (Pinnacles National Monument chick from 2010)
Condor #318's nickname came from his joy in exploring San Benito County. He has explored much of central California, but finds the dramatic rock formations and desert climate in this area very pleasant. The cool nights and hot days in this area frequently provide powerful thermals, which provide lift and allow condors to explore their surroundings with little effort.

Benito has been a steady sort of a fellow his entire life. He is now sexually mature, but in Big Sur, many of the condors are older and more aggressive than he is. He spends almost all his time over at Pinnacles National Monument where he is one of the oldest condors. Without the older condors around constantly demonstrating their dominance, Benito can relax and perhaps occasionally harass the younger condors.

With the lack of older birds around Benito paired with #317 and has chosen an excellent nest site within the park boundaries. Unfortunately their two nesting attempts have not been successful. The first nest in 2010, the chick was removed to the zoo because of lead poisoning. During the second attempt in 2011, the nestling was removed due to an injured wing, possibly caused by taking a tumble from a ledge near the nest cave. We have high hopes that this bird will mend in the patient and caring hands of zoo vets so that it can make a comeback at a later time.

Sadly, Benito's life was cut short but the efforts continue to build a successfully breeding population of condors in Big Sur.